Sean Carroll, Janine di Giovanni, Roxane Gay, Mark Kurlansky, Nathaniel Philbrick | Barbara’s Nonfiction Picks, May 2016, Pt. 1

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Carroll, Sean. The Big Picture: On the Origins of Life, Meaning, and the Universe Itself. Dutton. May 2016. 464p. ISBN 9780525954828. $28; ebk. ISBN 9780698409767. Downloadable: Penguin Audio. SCIENCE A theoretical physicist at the California Institute of Technology, Carroll won the Royal Society Winton Prize for The Particle at the End of the Universe, his […]

Award-Worthy Literary Gems | Fiction Previews, May 2016, Pt. 1

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Amend, Allison. Enchanted Islands. Nan A. Talese: Doubleday. May 2015. 320p. ISBN 9780385539067. $26.95; ebk. ISBN 9780385539074. LITERARY Born to immigrant parents in 1882 Minnesota, Frances Frankowski ran away from home as a teenager and on the eve of World War II was working as a secretary for the Office of Naval Intelligence, where she […]

Debut Novels, in Love, War, & More | Fiction Previews, Apr. 2016, Pt. 3

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Donovan, Kemper. The Decent Proposal. Harper. Apr. 2016. 320p. ISBN 9780062391629. $25.99. POP FICTION At 29, wannabe Hollywood producer Richard Baumbach has little to show for his efforts but remains cockily assured of success, while 33-year-old Elizabeth Santiago will surely make partner at her law firm but barely deviates from her ordered life. (One big […]

British Royals, American Jihadists, Humanitarian Doctors, & More | Nonfiction Previews, Apr. 2016, Pt. 3

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Andersen, Christopher. Game of Crowns: Elizabeth, Camilla, Kate, and the Throne. Gallery: S. & S. Apr. 2016. 320p. ISBN 9781476743950. $27; ebk. ISBN 9781476743974. BIOGRAPHY/ROYALTY Anderson, the author of 16 New York Times best sellers, including William and Kate and The Day Diana Died, has a way with royalty of all sorts. Here he gives […]

Chevalier, Fishman, O’Brien, Oyeyemi, & Spiotta | Barbara’s Fiction Picks, Mar. 2016, Pt. 1

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Chevalier, Tracy. At the Edge of the Orchard. Viking. Mar. 2016. 304p. ISBN 9780525953005. $26.95; ebk. ISBN 9780698404199. CD/downloadable: Penguin Audio. LITERARY/HISTORICAL Chevalier is the New York Times best-selling author of numerous audience favorites, notably Girl with a Pearl Earring, and with this book, as a way to introduce her to new readers, her new publisher […]

Jo Nesbø Above the Arctic Circle, Irvine Welsh in Edinburgh, & More | Barbara’s Fiction Picks, Feb. 2016, Pt. 3

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Kang, Han. The Vegetarian. Hogarth: Crown. Feb. 2016. 192p. ISBN 9780553448184. $21; ebk. ISBN 9780553448191. Downloadable: Random Audio. LITERARY Highly regarded internationally, an award winner in her native South Korea, and a former student at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, Kang is breaking out with this tale of surprising subversion. Haunted by images from a terrible […]

Fetishes, Time Travel, & Disappearing Authors | Debut Fiction, Feb. 2016, Pt. 3

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Boyce, Trudy Nan. Out of the Blues. Putnam. Feb. 2016. 351p. ISBN 9780399167263. $26.95; ebk. ISBN 9780698140707. THRILLER Following more than 30 years with the Atlanta PD as a beat cop, homicide detective, senior hostage negotiator, and lieutenant, Boyce leaps into writing with this story of brand-new homicide detective, Sarah “Salt” Alt, assigned a cold […]

From Jeffrey Archer to Minette Walters | 22 Thriller & Mystery Previews, Feb. 2016, Pt. 2

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Archer, Jeffrey. Cometh the Hour. St. Martin’s. Feb. 2016. 400p. ISBN 9781250061621. $27.99; ebk. ISBN 9781466867505. CD/downloadable: Macmillan Audio. THRILLER Billed as a thriller but as much a family saga, this sixth in Archer’s New York Times best-selling “Clifton Chronicles” (after last year’s Mightier Than the Sword) opens with a suicide note and ends up […]

A Nina Simone Biography, Actors’ Memoirs, and Viertel on the American Musical Theater | Performing Arts Previews, Feb. 2016, Pt. 2

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Fisher, Carrie. The Princess Diarist. Blue Rider. Feb. 2016. 240p. ISBN 9780399173592. $24.95. CD/downloadable: Penguin Audio. MEMOIR After Postcards from the Edge and Wishful Drinking, here’s another memoir from the erstwhile Princess Leia, just in time for the release of the latest Star Wars sequel. Not a full-length narrative arc but interconnected autobiographical essays; note […]

Lawrence Hill, Arnaldur Indridason, Darryl Pinckney, & More | Barbara’s Fiction Picks, Feb. 2016, Pt. 1

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Goldberg, Paul. The Yid. Picador. Feb. 2016. 320p. ISBN 9781250079039. $26; ebk. ISBN 9781250079046. LITERARY Moscow-born Goldberg, a reporter and nonfiction author who immigrated to the United States in 1973, offers an imaginative and blackly funny debut novel about the Soviet Union in early 1953, around the time of the anti-Semitic Doctors’ Plot. Here, Stalin […]